What is an 'air bridge' and why are we about to hear a lot more about them

It's an old term with an entirely new meaning.
It's an old term with an entirely new meaning. Photo credit: Newshub.

Since the beginning of commercial air travel, the term 'air bridge' has always been in reference to one thing: the walking platform for getting passengers from the airport gate onto the plane itself.

This is what we call an air bridge.
This is what we call an air bridge. Photo credit: Getty

But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a stack of new words as well as new definitions for old terms.

Now 'air bridge' has a new meaning.

It's still about getting you from the gate lounge to your destination but the bridge is much, much longer.

Expect to see ads like this over the coming months.
Expect to see ads like this over the coming months. Photo credit: Newshub/Getty Images

The New Zealand Government has been talking about introducing a 'travel bubble' with Australia, with 'air bridge' being used with essentially the same meaning: a safe passage for air travellers.

Auckland could, for example, operate an air bridge with Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or anywhere else in Australia declared safe to travel. But it could also open up travel to areas further afield. 

If Vietnam gets to a COVID-19 position similar to Aotearoa with little to no cases, an air bridge could be opened between the Southeast Asian nation and New Zealand, allowing for quarantine free travel without having to stop in an airport hub such as Singapore or Malaysia, which would require quarantining. 

Air bridges will be key to the return of international travel, so it may be a new term to you now. But get ready to hear it and see it everywhere very soon.

 

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